July 2014 | The Mad Puzzler | A Jigsaw Puzzle Blog

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Neuschwanstein Castle Day 6

I was able to get most of the castle together last night, and worked on the sky tonight.  I decided to split it into sections so that I can move the top sections closer.  Believe it or not, the darker solid areas of the sky have been easier than the clouds.  Once I have the sky done, I think I've move down to the mountain before tackling the trees.

Clementoni Neuschwanstein Castle - 2000 pieces
Started 7/19/14
Sort time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Assembly time: 14 hours, 53 minutes


Clementoni Neuschwanstein Castle 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Apologies to Anyone to Was Linked to Linkwithin

Last night I noticed in my reporting some traffic sources from linkwithin.com, which is where I got the widget that I was using to show related posts at the bottom of a post.  Upon further investigation, I found that some viewers may have been getting redirected to linkwithin.com in between clicking on a related post, and viewing the actual post.  I wasn't aware that this was going to happen, and I would call that "not cool" and not the user experience I was going for.  I have replaced this with a different widget, which shouldn't have these issues.  Sorry to anyone who experienced this!

Neuschwanstein Castle Day 4

Even though it's been several days since I've been able to work on this one, I'm counting it as day 4.  I spent most of last week working on the blog and was away over the weekend.  Last night and tonight I was able to get a good portion of the castle done.  This is on a working board but the main board still just has the edge right now.

Clementoni Neuschwanstein Castle - 2000 pieces
Started 7/19/14
Sort time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Assembly time: 9 hours, 25 minutes



Clementoni Neuschwanstein Castle 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Blog Features - Including Disqus Comments


Welcome to the new look and feel of my blog!  The biggest change is the move to Disqus comments.  I experienced issues with both the built-in Blogger comments and Google+ comments where comments wouldn't show up and/or notifications wouldn't be sent.  I tried out Facebook comments on a test blog but had issues with duplicate notifications and reply lists not expanding.  Anyway, it was a bit of work but I was able to get Disqus comments working, and on mobile as well.  A Disqus account, Facebook, Google, and Twitter are accepted, along with commenting as a guest.

Note: If you comment as a guest, you won't automatically receive a notification if there is a reply to your post, but you can click the Subscribe button at the bottom of the comment box.

I have a "Recent Comments" box for the sidebar that I'll be activating once there are a few Disqus comments.  My other favorite new feature is the "featured" post area under the header.  Here I will select an important post to feature, which will probably usually be the latest completion or mounting of a large puzzle.  Part of the reason for the template change is that on my old template, the width of the main column was a bit too narrow, such that it limited the width of images.  I'm looking forward to being able to post larger images again.

The mobile view is also now improved, with a navigation menu that pops up, and widgets for labels, etc. will display on the mobile site as well.

I hope you like the changes!  I'll be working on a few additional new features on a test blog, and if I can get them working, those will be coming soon as well.

Update: Last night I was able to get the related posts area and additional sharing buttons working correctly, so that should be it for a while!

Blog Maintenance

Please bear with me while I perform an upgrade to the blog template and comment system.  Great changes coming shortly!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Neuschwanstein Castle Day 2

This one was pretty hard to sort!  Progress has been slow and I can tell that this one is going to be challenging.  I plan to start on the castle next since that should be easier than the surrounding areas.

Clementoni Neuschwanstein Castle - 2000 pieces
Started 7/19/14
Sort time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Assembly time: 2 hours, 53 minutes


Clementoni Neuschwanstein Castle 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Saturday, July 19, 2014

How to Mount Large Jigsaw Puzzles Without Glue in Panels - African Animals

How to mount a large jigsaw puzzle in without glue - African Animals thumbnail This jigsaw puzzle mounting strategy builds off of mounting attempt 4, but with 4 panels.  I will soon see how this scales up with 6 panels when a do a 5000 piece.  I use 3M 568 Positionable Mounting Adhesive which is a double-sided dry adhesive, which requires no puzzle glue or spray adhesive.  Another great thing about it is that there is no time rush when using it.  You can apply the adhesive to a section and then go make a sandwich before doing the next section if you wanted to.  This adhesive is positionable until you apply pressure, which makes the bond permanent.

By mounting large puzzles in sections, they are easier to handle, hang and transport if you move, and you could also rotate them out if you don't have room on your walls for all of them.

I haven't had an issue with flipping 1000 pieces at once, and when I went to flip African Animals, I had it split into 4 sections of 750 pieces each.  On the third section I must have been a little too slow, because this happened:


I was able to carefully pick up the parts that were still connected and get it put back together pretty quickly.  For mounting this puzzle I used four 20" x 30" foam boards.  I decided to tape them together a bit to keep them from shifting when drawing the lines used to cut them to size.


Here I have drawn the lines which will separate each section.  The strip in between will not be covered with adhesive or the foam boards.  This allows the sections to separate.  As I found in mounting attempt 4 and fixed in part 2, this gap is needed so that the pegs from one side can go behind the holes from the other side.


This is a close-up of the center of the puzzle where the gaps in the foam boards will meet.


I didn't realize until after the fact that this picture came out a bit blurry, but you can see the outlines drawn where each piece will be cut.



Here the foam boards and cut and lined up where they will be once the mounting is complete.  On the sides you can see the notches I made such that you don't see the gap between the foam boards from the sides.  I goofed and forgot to make these for the top and bottom, but since this is a large puzzle you can't tell.


Here I have wrapped the edges with black duct tape to give them a nice finished look.


This is a close-up of the notches where the gaps meet. It's not necessary to cut away the foam board between the edge and the first peg on each side.  This allows the gap to not be seen from the sides.


Here the adhesive has been applied and the backing paper is still on.  This is the gap between two of the sections where the adhesive will not be placed.


Here the adhesive has been applied to most of the puzzle.  I prefer to roll it out on the puzzle and then cut it with an X-acto knife, instead of measuring it out and then laying it down.  For the smaller sections you can overlap the adhesive off of the roll and then cut away the overlap, since the adhesive does not stick to the backing paper.



Once the adhesive has been applied to the whole puzzle, you use the supplied squeegee to apply firm pressure (in both horizontal and vertical directions) to the adhesive.  This makes the adhesive permanently bonded to the back of the puzzle.


This is what it looks like as you peel back the backing paper.  The adhesive is transferred to the puzzle, and the backing paper will no longer be sticky at all.  If you see the adhesive not transferring (pulling up too much, a little more than seen here), you can simply lay the backing paper back down in that section and apply more pressure, and then try again.


Here the backing paper has been removed from a section.  I've found that I prefer to apply the adhesive to the whole puzzle, then remove the backing paper and apply the foam board to each section one at a time.  This way you don't have the adhesive exposed on the whole puzzle at the same time.  Here the foam boards have been applied to two sections, the adhesive is exposed on one, and the backing paper is still on the fourth section.


A close-up of the adhesive on the back of the puzzle.  You can see that it fills in the gaps.  This makes it such that even with a loose-fitting puzzle, the pieces don't move as the backing paper is removed.


After applying the foam boards to each section, I applied firm pressure to the back of the foam boards.  You could use a rolling pin on the back of the foam boards to apply the pressure.  I then very carefully separated the sections.  With a smaller puzzle it's possible to flip it all at once, but with a large puzzle you can't flip the whole thing while all of the sections are connected.  Once the sections are separated and flipped, the supplied protective sheet is used between the puzzle and the squeegee to protect the front of the puzzle.  Firm pressure is applied in both horizontal and vertical directions.  Along the seam edges, don't apply pressure to the half of the pieces which hang over the edge of the foam boards.  If you lightly press on these overhanging edges, they do move a bit, but I think part of this is that Ravensburger pieces aren't as stiff as other brands so they flex a bit.


Here, pressure has been applied to the front of each section, and the mounting is done!

How to mount a large jigsaw puzzle in without glue in panels

A close-up of the edge where two of the sections meet.  If you wanted to, you could use a small strip of tape over the seam on the edge, and then just slice if when you need to take the puzzle down.


The sections re-assembled:


A close-up of separating the sections:


I used the "large" size Command strips, which are rated at 16 lbs each, so they're a bit overkill but that's not a bad thing.  I avoided placing them near the seam edges on purpose so that when the puzzle is take down, force won't be applied near these edges as it's pulled off the wall.


Mounted on the wall!

How to mount a large jigsaw puzzle in without glue

Read about additional mounting projects here.

Friday, July 18, 2014

New Blog Name and Generous Gift

I'd Rather Be Puzzling is now The Mad Puzzler, because I'm puzzling like mad!  There will also be some site design changes coming in the future.  The posts column on this template is a bit too narrow and I've had issues with trying to widen it.

I helped fellow blogger Penny with some changes to her blog, and she sent a very generous thank you gift - Flowery Mountains by Ravensburger!  This one is very colorful, which is totally my style, and should be challenging.

Ravensburger Flowery Mountains 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

African Animals Completed and Shout-outs

I got on a roll, stayed up late, and finished last night!  Yay!!  As usual, as the number of pieces dwindled, the easier and easier it got.  I'm really happy with this one and will be mounting it soon!

Ravensburger African Animals - 3000 pieces
Started 7/1/14 - Finished 7/15/14
Sort time: 5 hours, 48 minutes
Assembly time: 61 hours, 9 minutes

Ravensburger African Animals 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Ravensburger African Animals 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle close-up 1

Ravensburger African Animals 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle close-up 2

Ravensburger African Animals 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle close-up 3

Fellow blogger Penny mentioned me in a post, which was very nice of her.  It also made me realize that I hadn't linked to her blog here, since I assumed anyone who has found my blog has probably found her's as well.  If you haven't, you should check it out!  It turns out and she and I have a lot in common and have become friends after "meeting" on her blog, and seeing her blog is part of what inspired me to create my own.

Also a shout-out to the folks at Puzzled Inc in Tennessee.  They have been putting together Wildlife as a group in their store, and they are almost done with section 1.  They upload daily time lapse videos here, so check it out!

Monday, July 14, 2014

African Animals Day 14

I decided to split it into 4 sections on separate foam boards to make it easier to move and reach the top half.  I made some good progress this evening on the trees and grassy areas, and filled in some other random pieces.  It's pretty close to being done now!

Ravensburger African Animals - 3000 pieces
Started 7/1/14
Sort time: 5 hours, 48 minutes
Assembly time: 55 hours, 37 minutes


Ravensburger African Animals 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Sunday, July 13, 2014

African Animals Day 13

I got the giraffes mostly done, and then started on the water and grasses on the bottom half.  I'm happy about today's progress!

Ravensburger African Animals - 3000 pieces
Started 7/1/14
Sort time: 5 hours, 48 minutes
Assembly time: 51 hours, 40 minutes


Ravensburger African Animals 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle

African Animals Day 12

I mostly finished the gazelles and the zebras.  It's starting to come together!  I'm going to try and finish up the zebras and then probably start on the giraffes.

Ravensburger African Animals - 3000 pieces
Started 7/1/14
Sort time: 5 hours, 48 minutes
Assembly time: 40 hours, 15 minutes


Ravensburger African Animals 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Comments Maintenance

puzzle pieces I've had some issues getting Google+ comments to work on this custom template.  I'm about to do some maintenance to try and get them working again.  I think either way that all previous comments will probably be lost.  I already lost old comments when I switched to this template.  There may be some issues with comments during this time.

Update: I got it working using these instructions.  Hopefully all will be well with comments now.

African Animals Day 11

I got the elephants mostly done!  Woohoo!  Both elephants together were probably about 750 pieces I would guess.  I think I'll start on the gazelles next.

Ravensburger African Animals - 3000 pieces
Started 7/1/14
Sort time: 5 hours, 48 minutes
Assembly time: 31 hours, 14 minutes


Ravensburger African Animals 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

African Animals Day 9

I got a few more hippo pieces attached to the main puzzle, but I mostly focused on the elephants.  I was able to piece together most of the right side of the face, trunk and tusks on the big elephant, and some areas of the small elephant.

Ravensburger African Animals - 3000 pieces
Started 7/1/14
Sort time: 5 hours, 48 minutes
Assembly time: 23 hours, 41 minutes

Ravensburger African Animals 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Ravensburger African Animals 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle close-up 1

The small elephant and bird next to it, the some other miscellaneous elephant parts.

Ravensburger African Animals 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle close-up 2

Some birds, the lions, and various areas of the rhino:

Ravensburger African Animals 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle close-up 3

Elephant edge pieces and other misc:

Ravensburger African Animals 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle close-up 4